Following the government’s decision to extend the furlough scheme until the end of March, leaders from across the country have delivered their verdict. Most have welcomed the additional support while expressing certain reservations.
Dean Kavanagh, managing director of leading gas detection and analysis instrumentation manufacturer QED, said that the extension scheme was ‘greatly welcomed.’ He did, however, express concerns about its long term effects.
‘There is a risk,’ he said, ‘that it further delays an uptick in the UK economy with business owners and corporates potentially biding their time further until more economic “life” appears and Christmas might well have an impact on this with a risk that people take a “we’ll start again in January” approach.’
QED has recently defied the general 2020 trend to launch launched the next generation popular Huberg METREX gas detection instrument, showing that it is still possible to make developments in the Covid era.
Stephen Hurst, managing director of ethical coffee distributors Mercanta Coffee Hunters, echoed Kavanagh’s concerns.
‘I am also unsure,’ he said, ‘of the economic or fiscal wisdom of extending furlough until March 2021, potentially leading to a situation where employees will have been on Furlough for close to a year, costing the government a fortune and potentially laid off at the end of that term in any case.’
John Gurd from market research experts Market Measures expressed his understanding for the need for a furlough scheme to be in place during lockdown but he added his concern that this will dissuade businesses from taking the risks that are so essential to a country’s economy.
‘At some point,’ he said, ‘we need to let commercial pressures take their course. I’m not sure whether extending furlough is a relief or not as it just extends this whole period of stasis for 5 more months.’
The general manager of Becketts restaurant in Southsea, Terrence Carvalho, said that the extension of the furlough was ‘very much welcomed’ but he spoke of his frustration at the new restrictions on hospitality.
‘It's really frustrating as a business in hospitality to have been told to close again especially after such a positive few months reopening from the first lockdown. Having first had the 10pm curfew put onto us and then having to close fully within a matter of weeks seems to make the previous ruling completely pointless. The only thing I do know is Becketts and my team will be ready to open and continue on this upward trajectory we've unbelievably put ourselves in even during a global pandemic.’